Respiratory therapists who provide home care services to Medicare beneficiaries have raised serious concerns about the impending rollout of the Medicare Competitive Bid Program in rural and other non-compete areas of the country. Under the current plan, RTs fear many patients would be left without access to the respiratory-related durable medical equipment (DME) they need to manage their chronic respiratory conditions at home.
Senators Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and John Thune (R-SD), and Representative Tom Price (R-GA), have introduced legislation into their respective houses of Congress that would delay the rollout of the bid program in rural and other non-compete areas until September 30, 2017. The AARC has applauded their efforts in letters to all three, explaining the role of the RT in caring for home care patients and advocating for passage of the legislation in both the House and the Senate.
“The AARC and our members are very much aware of the struggles many of our pulmonary home care patients are having in receiving the full range of Medicare services, in particular respiratory-related DME for which they are eligible and which they desperately need,” wrote AARC President Frank Salvatore, MBA, RRT, FAARC.
The temporary delay afforded by the legislation, he continues, would give the government the time it needs to “assess the impact on Medicare patients of the significant revisions to the reimbursement structure under the DME Competitive Bid Program.”
The letters that went out to Senators Heitkamp and Thune, and Representative Price, represent just one recent example of the AARC’s continuing commitment to stay one step ahead of legislation on Capitol Hill with the potential to impact the respiratory care profession and, most importantly, the patients who rely on our care.